NBA players display their passion and skills on the court. They are recognized for both the number of points they score and shots they block. However, several players display their passions and aspirations off the court through charitable work. They are indeed recognized for both the number of lives they affect and the smiles they paint on the faces of the less fortunate. Here are three NBA players shooting to end poverty.
A native Bahamian, Buddy Hield grew up in Freeport, The Bahamas. Excelling in the sport of basketball, the University of Oklahoma recruited him to their team where he became a sensational collegiate player in the United States. His feats in collegiate basketball landed him a spot on the Sacramento Kings basketball team of the NBA. When Hurricane Dorian struck The Bahamas on September 9, 2019, Buddy Hield immediately began sending help.
Threatening the lives of 2,000 people and throwing many more under the poverty line, Hurricane Dorian became the worst hurricane in Bahamian history. Hield raised a significant amount for his birthplace and sent needed supplies. Hield has raised about 300,000 dollars in total through the Buddy Hield Foundation and the Kings organization. He also spearheads the donation cause of food and clothing to his people. He even plans to travel to the Bahamas with his mother to cook for the impacted Bahamians.
LeBron James is an extraordinary man on and off the court. Born in Akron, Ohio, LeBron James showed superstar potential as early as high school. Breaking records and winning the NBA Finals is important to James but so is his charity work. In his hometown of Akron—where the poverty rate is approximately 25 percent—James founded his own public elementary school called the I Promise School. He founded this school to improve the well-being of the Akron population, offering education to the less fortunate to help increase living conditions and decrease the poverty line. The school opened with only grades three and four but hopes to be fully functional by 2022, teaching grades one through eight. Amazingly, the school has shown promising results in which 90 percent of students have reached goals in both math and reading. The LeBron James Family Foundation evens covers all schooling expenses in the school’s family resource center where parents are provided with services from work advice to legal services. All of this is in an attempt to increase the living conditions of James’ beloved Akron community.
Two-time NBA champion, Pau Gasol epitomizes an outstanding citizen. Born in Barcelona, Spain, the Memphis Grizzlies drafted Gasol in 2001, where he became the first foreign player to win Rookie of the Year. While balancing his basketball career, Gasol became heavily involved in global issues, ranging from AIDS to obesity.
He has been a UNICEF Spanish Ambassador since 2003, tackling childhood obesity and malnutrition to better the lives of children globally. He aims to see that children live their full potential in eating the proper foods. Around the world, 149 million children below the age of 5 are stunted from the effects of malnutrition, and over 40 million are obese. Since 2003, Gasol has dedicated his time, outside of basketball, to advocate UNICEF’s work in nutrition, education and other humanitarian work by traveling to impact children in Iraq, Lebanon, Chad and other needful countries.
In collaboration with his brother, Mark, the two founded the Gasol Foundation to decrease childhood obesity through physical activity and healthy eating habits. Just recently, Gasol was named the Global Champion for Nutrition and Zero Childhood Obesity by UNICEF.
– Colin Crawford